Obama, Romney at odds over jobs
REPUBLICAN challenger Mitt Romney hammered away at President Barack Obama's economic policies on Saturday, saying the latest jobs report is evidence they are not working.
Mr Obama celebrated his 51st birthday and offered no public comment. On Friday he said the same jobs report showed that the economy added 163,000 jobs last month, the best pace of hiring in five months.
Mr Romney, who hopes to defeat Mr Obama in the November general election, met briefly with Indiana voters and pointed to Friday's labour department report that found the jobless rate ticked up to 8.3% from 8.2% in June.
"These are real families having real hard times," Mr Romney said in Evansville. "This has been an extraordinary series of policy failures on behalf of the president."
Mr Obama narrowly won Indiana four years ago, becoming the first Democrat to carry the state in more than 40 years. But recent polls suggest Mr Romney has the edge. Battleground states like Indiana - neither reliably Republican nor Democratic - are especially important in tight elections, as the November vote is expected to be.
The Obama campaign released a new TV advert on Saturday that targeted Mr Romney's opposition to abortion rights and funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions. Women in the ad describe Mr Romney as extreme and out of touch. One woman suggests that the Republican wants to return to the laws of the 1950s.
The Romney campaign dismissed the advert as a distraction from the previous day's jobs numbers.
"One day after the unemployment rate increased and we reached 42 consecutive months with a jobless rate greater than 8%, it is not surprising that the Obama campaign would release a false ad in an attempt to distract from the effects of the president's failed policies," said Romney spokesman Andrea Saul.
At the same time, each side went after the other in a dispute over military voting rights in Ohio. Mr Romney accused the Obama administration of trying to limit early voting privileges of servicemen, while the Obama campaign accused his Republican rival of intentionally distorting the facts.
Mr Obama's campaign and Democrats filed the lawsuit last month against Ohio's top elections official in a dispute over the battleground state's law that restricts early, in-person voting during the final three days before election day.
Mr Romney did not address the issue in Indiana, but released a statement calling the lawsuit "an outrage". Mr Obama's campaign said the lawsuit is intended "to make sure every Ohioan, including military members and their families, has early voting rights over the last weekend prior to the election".
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